Cultural Anthropology

Do Orgasms Prevent Humans from Selecting their best possible Mates



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Studies have shown that female primates, with proper stimulation, are capable of physical responses that human beings interpret as orgasm. Although there has been no conclusive evidence to indicate what relationship their capacity for orgasm has to their sexual relations in the wild, some theorists have proposed that this capability may be detrimental to their reproductive success because there seems to be no clear reason for this adaptation. According to Symons, there are a number of factors that could hinder a female's reproductive success. These factors include any activities or behaviors that could interfere with her ability to choose a male who is the "best" available father for her potential children, to ensure that she reaps the most benefit from her sexual interactions, and to conceive and raise offspring effectively. Additionally, Symons notes that the female must be capable of influencing males to assist her and her offspring, thereby reducing the possibility of violence and enhancing her security. Therefore, from an evolutionary perspective, females should not have orgasm because it would make them more promiscuous. Under this theory, a female's desire to be sexually stimulated and achieve orgasm would deter them from finding the "best" mate and cause them to mate with any male in order to attain sexual satisfaction. Consequently, if a female in this situation does become pregnant, she may choose to continue finding mates that will give her sexual pleasure rather than attending to her offspring, lessening the chance that her offspring would learn and survive.

However, Symons theory is based on the assumption that achieving orgasm would trump a female's desire to care for her offspring. Simply because females have the capacity for orgasm does not mean that the trait is necessarily adaptive. It is postulated that female primates developed a clitoris, which only functions for sexual stimulation, because male and female anatomical structures are analogous. Different parts grow under the influence of different hormones and under different rates. It is possible, then, that females developed the capacity for orgasm because this is a necessary adaptive trait in males. In other words, males must orgasm in order to ejaculate and release sperm, and females could have potentially developed the capacity for orgasm as a result of this male necessity. Similarly, although females have an adaptive requirement for nipples (for feeding young), males (who have no need for nipples) develop this feature as well.

In conclusion, the capacity for female primates to orgasm should not necessarily result in their inability to choose "best" mates or effectively raise offspring. In fact, this capacity may actually assist them in their social interactions as female primates express their sexual assertiveness and solidify social relationships through their participation in non-reproductive, and highly sexually stimulating behavior. Capacity for orgasm does not translate to prioritizing orgasm as a female's main objective.

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